Warren J. Ferguson

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This article is about the federal judge. For the Andy Griffith Show character, see Warren Ferguson.
Warren John Ferguson
Born (1920-10-31)October 31, 1920
Eureka, Nevada, U.S.
Died June 25, 2008(2008-06-25) (aged 87)
Fullerton, California, U.S.

Warren John Ferguson (31 October 1920 – 25 June 2008) was an American jurist who served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Ferguson was born in Eureka, Nevada and earned a B.A. at the University of Nevada at Reno in 1942. He served in the United States Army during World War II. Upon return, he earned his J.D. from University of Southern California in 1949. He was in private practice in Fullerton, California from 1949 to 1959.

In 1959 he was appointed judge of the Anaheim-Fullerton Municipal Court where he served until 1961. He was a Superior court judge, Santa Ana, California from 1961 to 1966. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the Federal District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, formed in 1966. He was appointed to the Ninth Circuit in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter to a new seat created by 92 Stat. 1629. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 26, 1979, and received his commission on November 27, 1979. He assumed senior status on July 31, 1986. Ferguson served in that capacity until June 25, 2008, due to his death.

Notable cases include a 1971 decision after Spencer Haywood was denied a transfer from the American Basketball Association's Denver Rockets to National Basketball Association's Seattle SuperSonics. The NBA at the time prohibited college graduates to play for four years after graduation; the ABA did not. The antitrust suit went to the Supreme Court (Haywood v. National Basketball Association), which affirmed the decision.

His ruling in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. in 1979 ushered in the era of home video recording by allowing Sony to market the Betamax.

Ferguson assumed senior status on the Ninth Circuit in 1986. He died at his home in Fullerton, California.[1]


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